Maidstone Things to Do

  • Inside Leeds Castle
    Inside Leeds Castle
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  • Cascade ponds
    Cascade ponds
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  • Cascade Ponds & Black Swan nesting
    Cascade Ponds & Black Swan nesting
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Most Recent Things to Do in Maidstone

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    Falconry Displays

    by sue_stone Updated Mar 13, 2007

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    Ozzie the Eagle-Owl
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    Something else that the kids and adults will like at Leeds Castle are the falconry displays, which are held at 1pm & 3pm on weekends. Head down to the area just down from the maze, and check out the bird of prey action.

    You can see some of the birds and learn more about them and their unique characteristics. Some of them you can get up close to and you may even be able to give them a hug if you are that way inclined.

    When we were there we got to meet Millie the Kestrel, a small type of Falcon that can hover above its prey; and a gorgeous Eagle-Owl called Ozzie. We were all able to get a close look at Ozzie whilst learning more about this apparently dim but beautiful bird.

    The displays are free - held at 1pm & 3pm on the weekends

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    Dog Collar Museum

    by sue_stone Updated Mar 13, 2007

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    Some of the evil looking collars
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    Another of the surprising attractions in the grounds of Leeds Castle is the Dog Collar Museum. This unusual museum is said to house the largest collection of dog collars in the world! There are over 100 collars on display, some dating back to the 16th century.

    It only takes a few minutes to visit and is well worth a look. The most impressive where probably the large gold bands which were engraved with the dogs names and birthdays, and sometimes full details of the owners as well.

    I was intrigued by some of the old collars, many of which had jagged metal studs and looked like something that belonged in an S&M parlour. Apparently these collars where used to protect the dogs from bears and other wild animals that would try to attack them by biting them on the neck.

    Admission is free (well, once you buy a ticket to the castle)

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    The Maze & Grotto

    by sue_stone Updated Mar 13, 2007

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    Looking over the maze
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    Also located within the Leeds Castle estate is an excellent hedged maze. The maze was planted in 1988, made from 2,400 Yew trees. The hedges are over six-feet tall and too thick to see through.

    The maze spirals around a small central tower. Don't let your little kids play in there by themselves, you may never find them again....It is actually really difficult to navigate your way through it - I was very impressed by it!

    When you eventually make it to the middle, climb up onto the small tower and you will get a good view over the top of the maze. Then you can descend the stairs into the Grotto below.

    The Grotto is a bizarre underground 'cave', which has water running through it and scary looking carved monsters on its walls. There is some beautiful tile/shell work on the ceiling and walls in the first part of the Grotto, but the rest is kind of drab, yet intriguing.

    Admission is free (well, once you buy a ticket to the castle)

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    The Aviary

    by sue_stone Updated Mar 13, 2007

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    Colourful parrots in the Aviary
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    There is much more to see at Leeds Castle than just the castle itself - I was amazed to discover in the castle grounds a fabulous Aviary. Not just a couple of cages with local species of birds, but cage after cage of exotic feathered friends from around the world!

    The last resident, Lady Baillie was a keen bird collector and after her death this memorial aviary was opened in her honour. It is home to more than 100 species of birds and is well worth a visit after you check out the castle.

    The highlight for me was the Toucans - there were several of these coloured-beaked birds, and what characters they are, I could watch them for ages. There were also some talking cockatoos, some big colourful parrots and the lovely Scarlet Ibis.

    Admission is free (well, once you buy a ticket to the castle)

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    Leeds Castle

    by sue_stone Updated Mar 13, 2007

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    Leeds Castle
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    One lovely spring day we decide to head down south to visit Leeds Castle. Confusingly, Leeds Castle isn't located in Leeds, but instead in Kent, near Maidstone.

    The castle is set on two small islands, surrounded by gardens, lawns and woodlands, in the middle of a large estate. It is a beautiful setting and an excellent place to visit with all the family.

    Leeds Castle has been home to royalty and other important people for more than 900 years, and was lived in until 1974. The last resident was Lady Baillie, and upon her death she bequeathed the castle to the nation.

    Today you can visit most sections of the castle and get a real feel for how the past residents lived. The castle is also used for conferences, weddings and such like, and 23 of the 24 bedrooms are still slept in from time to time. It is in excellent condition, and has a wonderful atmosphere about it - when we visited there were fires burning in several of the rooms, in the stunning fire places, and a pianist playing in one of the drawing rooms.

    To get to the castle you will have to spend some time walking through the estate - around 10 minutes. (There is however transport available up to the castle if you are not able to walk that far). One of the paths that you can walk along takes you via the Duckery, which is an enclosed area with a pond and lots of different types of ducks and water fowl. A great place for the kids and those duck lovers out there like me!
    There is actually much more to see in the castle estate - further details follow in the next tips.

    Grounds Open: 10am daily
    Last ticket sold: 3.00pm
    Gates close at 5.00pm

    Castle Open: 10.30am-4pm
    (last admission 3.30pm)

    Admission Cost (March 2007):
    Adults - £13.50
    Senior Citizens/Students/Visitors with Disabilities - £11.00
    Children (4-15) - £8.00

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    Aviary, maze and grotto of Leeds Castle

    by ChristinaNest Written Mar 8, 2006

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    Don't miss the aviary where you can see many birds. The cages seemed to me kind of small... The maze is great. It seemed small and easy but I managed to get lost for a little while, moreover the sunny weather turned to rain right after we entered the maze. In the center there is a grotto, a small artificial cave with some 'scary' reliefs :)

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    Black swans

    by ChristinaNest Written Mar 8, 2006

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    These swans were everywhere and appeared very hungry. We had brought lunch and had a picnic by the river so I decided to share mine with the birds (there was no danger of bird flu back then). The swans happily accepted everything I gave them and were swimming around waiting for more.

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    Leeds Castle

    by Tom_Fields Updated Jan 20, 2006
    Leeds Castle
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    Leeds Castle is among the most beautiful England's Treasure Houses. It also lives up to the name "castle". It began as a Saxon fortress, protected by a lake. Following the Norman Conquest of 1066, it was replaced by the elaborate stone structure seen today. King Henry VIII made it a royal palace.

    While visiting, be sure to explore the park and gardens, especially the Culpepper Garden. The original park dates back to the Middle Ages, and is the best of all English castle gardens.

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    Picture perfect Leeds Castle

    by Aleyd Updated Nov 15, 2005

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    Leeds Castle in late October 2005

    Leeds Castle is gorgeous to view from all angles. The interior is in the style of a number of different time periods. From medieval to early 20th Century. You may take photos indoors.

    There is also a large maze (with small grotto in the centre), gardens, lakes, gift shops, dog collar museum, cafe and restaurant.

    I took the 9am National Express (http://www.nationalexpress.com/) bus from Victoria Coach Station (terminating at Dover). It dropped us at the main gate at 10.15am. The pick up time was 3pm from the same spot - arriving in London's Victoria Coach Station at 4.45pm.

    I bought my combined bus and entry tickets (adults GBP 18.00) from Victoria Coach Station. (http://www.nationalexpress.com/destinations/leeds.cfm)

    There is also a shuttle bus between the local railway station and the castle.

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    Count the theme pubs.

    by Steve-H Updated Jan 2, 2004

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    Eric goes Fishing, top R&B band.

    How on earth did the council manage to fit all those crappy pubs into that tiny town centre.

    Go and see a live band, Maidstone at least has a thriving music seen supported by the kind of folk who wont give you grief at closing time.Unfortunately one of the main venues, the Royal Albion, is to close this year for a make over to turn it into another theme pub, probably a Beefeater style affair for the families that will flock to the new town square.NOT!
    It`s an old town and the streets are narrow, like parts of London but that won`t stop them from tearing it up a bit. A few years ago the high speed rail link between London and Dover went past the town, an ancient stone monument used as a place of worship by a non mainstream religion was torn up and moved in the name of progress.

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    Leeds Castle

    by bluesmama Written May 21, 2004

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    Leeds Castle

    This is a beautiful castle!
    It is so wonderful with the park and water all around.
    There is even a dog collar museum!

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    • Castles and Palaces

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Maidstone Things to Do

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